Spain's Prado, Russia's Hermitage to swap works

7th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's Prado Museum and Russia's Hermitage Museum will swap works, including masterpieces by Goya and Rembrant, as part of a cultural exchange between the two nations, the galleries' bosses said Monday.

About 66 works from the Spanish museum will be put on display at the Hermitage between February 25 and May 29 as part of the "Prado at the Hermitage" exhibit.

In return 170 works from the Hermitage will be put on display at the Prado between November 8 and March 26, 2012.

The temporary exchange would be "unprecedented", the director of the Prado, Miguel Zugaza, told a news conference at the museum.

Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will officially inaugurate the Prado exhibit at the Hermitage, which is housed in the ornate Winter Palace of the Russian czars in St. Petersburg, overlooking the Neva River.

It will include works by El Greco, Murillo and Velazquez in addition to paintings by Goya.

The Hermitage exhibit at the Prado will include works by Rubens and Watteaau as well as Cezanne, Renoir, Gauguin and Matisse.

"Our two museums are very similar in that both tell the story of their respective country," said Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky.

The Hermitage has more than two-and-a-half million works of art, housed in more than 1,000 rooms. It was started by Russian empress Catherine the Great in 1764.

The Prado, founded in 1819, features one of the greatest collections of European art from the fourteenth century until the early nineteenth century.

© 2011 AFP

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